Sunday 23 February, 2020

Office of the President clarifies unmarried guests policy

The Office of the President has responded to reports that officials who are unmarried were not allowed to bring guests to the National Awards ceremony on September 24.

President Paula-Mae Weekes has come under fire for the decision.

However, the Office of the President has explained that all invitations are issued in the name of the Head of State and invitations are to named guests.

It noted that the Office of the President does not issue “& guest” invitations.

The Office of the President added that the method of compiling the list was identical in 2018 and 2019.

It clarified that there are two categories for the National Awards Ceremony:

  1. Guests of the President, the Prime Minister and the Awardees

These guests are personal to the President, the Prime Minister and the Awardees. In the issuing of these invitations, marital or other relationships is not a consideration and therefore married, affianced, co-habiting, same sex even causally dating couples, may be invited in this category.

  1. Persons whose Offices appear on the Table of Precedence

These guests are invited by virtue of the position they hold e.g. Members of Parliament, Judges, Heads of Diplomatic Missions, and they are required to a “+1”, named or not. To them is extended the courtesy of having their spouse included on their invitation; this is not a new policy. Information as to the marital status of the office holder and the name of spouse is supplied by the respective offices.

The Office of the President noted that while practices may have obtained from time to time, it adheres to this formal tradition.

It added that legislation dealing with co-habitational relationships does not, nor does it intend to provide a guide to social invitations.

However, it said it is meant rights as to inheritance, property survivorship and other legal obligations.

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